Our Team

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Eliza Kingsford, MA, LPC, NCC

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Eliza Kingsford is a licensed psychotherapist, Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor specializing in evidence-based clinical and therapeutic weight loss and weight management programs tailored to the unique needs of adolescents, teens and young adults.

She emphasizes the role of the brain/weight equation and the neurological connections that link thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviors and weight, drawing on extensive professional experience in the outpatient treatment of dysfunctional eating behaviors, including emotional eating, food cravings, stress eating, disordered eating and eating disorders.

Author of Brain-Powered Wellness, published by Rodale Press and Penguin-Random House, she has been featured on WebMD, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Healthline, Mental Health Weekly, Shape Magazine, Parade Magazine, Live Naturally Magazine and many other media outlets.

Eliza has collaborated on multiple research projects with leading health scientists on the most effective strategies and treatments for obesity, overweight, weight loss and weight management, food addiction and emotional eating.

She received her masters’ degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Colorado and previously served as executive director and clinical director for several well-known therapeutic weight management programs, leading the clinical redesign of a major national adolescent weight loss program to reflect the latest science regarding the treatment of obesity and overweight in teens and young adults.

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Jessica Revord Dorgan, MA, LPC, NCC

Director of Admissions

Jessica leads the Empowered Wellness admissions team and works one-on-one with families throughout the process. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor with a specialization in health, wellness, and addictions.

Jessica began her work with clients facing food and body image struggles in a therapeutic behavioral camp environment and has held Clinical Director, Behavioral Coach and Admissions Coordinator roles. She also held the position of admissions counselor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

She graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor’s in Health Science and a Master’s in Human Developmental Clinical Counseling. During graduate school she implemented a health and wellness initiative called “Get Fit, Stay Fit” for Bradley University.

Her passion is instilling positive behavior changes within teenagers and young adults. In her free time, you can find Jessica, running her next race for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Charity, coaching high school athletes, or traveling the world.

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Nikki Downey, CTRS

Camp Director
Nikki holds the national Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), ensuring professional expertise in directing therapeutic summer camps, developing adaptive programs and creating inclusive environments in recreational settings.

She earned a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Sports Management from Florida International University and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Education focusing on exercise physiology and community health from the University of Cincinnati.

Nikki is also a certified Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor, Lifeguard Instructor and an American Camp Association Visitor.

She is experienced in youth development and enjoys coaching and mentoring teens and young adults.  In her spare time, Nikki volunteers for Give Back Cincinnati and Girls On The Run.  When she’s not leading camps, volunteering, or coaching, you can find her hiking the hills of Cincinnati, hanging out with her nieces and nephew, running in local races, or dancing the Argentine tango.

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Carolyn "Cari" Coulter Thiede, RD, LD

Director of Nutrition

Cari is a registered dietitian and has over a decade of weight management experience in both corporate and clinical environments. She has been interviewed by Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, Fitness Magazine, the Huffington Post, and a number of other publications and has published articles in dozens of online and print media.

She attained her RD through the University of Houston’s Dietetic Internship Program and also holds a certificate of training from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. She graduated with honors from Miami University with a BA in psychology and a minor in nutrition and completed her dietetic coursework at NYU’s Steinhardt Graduate School.

She lives in Texas with her husband, son, and two dogs.